Salon & Spa Meetings & Education: Mandatory or Optional?
Creating the right culture and achieving true team performance isn't the result of wishful thinking, good luck or accident.
It takes leadership engagement and information flow (communication) to a level that far exceeds what most salon/spa owners and managers do.
- If you want to consistently deliver extraordinary customer service experiences … set the bar high and lead your team to that level of consistency.
- If you want a team of the most highly skilled service providers … then educate the heck out of them.
- If you want your first-time client retention rate to go from 35% to 65% or higher … then eliminate the service and technical inconsistencies that stand in the way.
- If you want your pre-book rate (percent of clients that check out with a future appointment) … then make "maintenance cycle recommendations" at the end of every service a non-negotiable.
- If you want retail sales to jump 10% or more over your current retail percent of total revenue … then make verbal and written retail recommendations at the end of every service a non-negotiable.
- If you want a guest services team that rivals Ritz Carlton … then relentlessly train them to be the best.
The list can go on … but I think you see what this is leading to.
Information flow and education (customer service and technical) in a salon/spa are the foundational essentials to culture building, teamwork and business growth.
Salon/spa owners and leaders need to come to terms with two words … Mandatory or Optional.
- Mandatory is an absolute. If it's mandatory … it happens.
- Mandatory elevates a rule into a law.
- Mandatory defines structure and consistency.
- Mandatory has no wiggle room for non-compliance.
- Optional is "I will" or "I won't."
- Optional is "some will" and "some won't."
- Optional permits inconsistency.
- Optional invites compromise.
Meetings and Information Flow:
Whenever you utter the phrase, "We need to get everyone on the same page," it means that your company has wondered off course.
It means one or more systems are broken.
It means inconsistencies have infected your culture and your salon/spa's ability to perform at its full capability.
Company, department and leadership team meetings are your salon/spa's information-flow engine. In his book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, Verne Harnish discusses what he calls "the rhythm of a company."
- Slow companies that struggle to perform have slow rhythms.
- Fast companies that consistently perform and grow at a higher than average pace have fast rhythms.
Fast company rhythms are fed and maintained through disciplined and consistent information flow at all levels. Everyone understands their roles and responsibilities. Everyone knows the score and what needs to happen to achieve goal.
Annual Planning Meetings: Leadership team devotes one or more days to mapping out the next twelve months.
- What are the primary initiatives and goals for the year?
- What's our Cash-Flow Projection forecasting for revenue and expenses?
- Where does the company need to invest time and money to fix problems and gain a competitive advantage?
- What are the timelines for implementation?
- Who's responsible for what?
Quarterly Meetings: Company-wide team meeting to assess progress and share information.
- Is the company on target to achieve its primary initiatives?
- What's working and what needs fixing and attention?
- What achievements need to be celebrated?
Monthly Meetings: Company-wide team meeting to update progress, fine tune systems, reinforce culture and celebrate wins.
Weekly Meetings: These are short leadership and or department head meetings to monitor progress and ask the critical question … Where are you stuck?
Daily Huddles: Ten to fifteen-minute all-staff or department meetings to set up the initiatives for that day, update the salon/spa scoreboard, address potential challenges for that day and celebrate wins.
- Huddles are done prior to the first client appointments.
- It may be necessary to do multiple huddles depending on shift schedules and size of staff.
- Huddles start and end on time.
- If an employee is late for huddle … that employee is late for work.
- Huddles are done standing.
- No eating food, doing make-up/hair.
- No mobile phones.
- Attendance is mandatory.
- Mandatory means that meetings are compensated time.
- If you don't like any of this meeting stuff … don't complain about people not being on the same page.
Education and Skill Development:
Salons and spas are service-based and skill-based businesses. The collective level of service and technical skill defines your company's "Brand Identity."
Every salon/spa must have a formal internal training program that all employees must complete.
- The training program must include both customer service and technical skill
- If your salon/spa does not have a formal internal training program … it is placing the burden and decision of education on its employees. In other words … training and skill development are "optional."
- New employees and new talent should go through 30, 60 and 90-day training for essential customer service, technical skill … and culture building
- On-going education should be scheduled one day each week for new talent until they are skill certified in the required customer service systems and required technical skills.
- Experienced and senior staff should have a minimum of one-day of training per month. There is always room for improvement.
- Education attendance should be mandatory. Mandatory means compensated time.
Here's my challenge to you: Information flow and keeping a team on that infamous "same page" takes work and commitment from owners and leaders. The more the word "Optional" is attached to systems that ensure information flow and skill development … the more inconsistencies and frustrations you will have in your company.
What I presented above is an overview of what your meeting and education efforts should look like. By all means … make modifications so it fits your company. Avoid the temptation to water the flow of meetings and education down.
More importantly … do not say, "This won't work," or, "We tried this once and it didn't work," … or, "I can't afford to do this." This is what it's going to take to make your vision of your company a reality. It's the work of leadership.